If you live in a city, learning how to parallel park isn't an option; it's a necessity. While learning how to parallel park can be difficult to do, researching the topic and getting lots of practice will soon have you parallel parking like a professional. You will no longer fear putting your car between two others against a curb.
How to Parallel Park
Parallel parking has some differences depending on the specific spot; however, there are some broad steps that apply in most circumstances:
- Pull your car alongside the car in front of the spot so that the front bumper of the other car is about halfway up the front of your car.
- Back up straight until the front bumper of your car has cleared approximately half the distance between where your started and the back of the car in front of the spot.
- Cut the steering wheel all the way toward the curb, bringing the back end of your car toward the curb.
- Slowly turn your steering wheel back until it is straight when your front bumper has cleared the back bumper of the car in front of the spot.
- Back up straight as far as you can without hitting the front bumper of the car behind yours.
- Straighten your car out by pulling forward.
- Position your car about an equal distance from the rear bumper of the car in front of you and the front bumper of the car behind you.
Helpful Tips for Parallel Parking
While it might sound simple, many people have trouble parallel parking their cars properly. To avoid having a nightmare of a time fitting into the spot, heed these tips:
- Don't try and fit your car into a spot that isn't big enough.
- Do not keep turning the wheel back and forth to the same position as you pull forward and back. This will do nothing more than retrace your car's steps.
- Practice a lot when you are learning how to parallel park. Do this between road cones or some other object that acts as a boundary but is not as valuable as a car.
- If you are too far from the curb you should pull out and try over again. You don't want to get ticketed for being too far from the curb.
- Remain calm. Even if other people are behind you, honking and yelling, remember that you have to be able to park your car. The more practice that you get parking your car on busy city streets, the quicker you will be able to do it, holding up less traffic in the future.
- As you're learning, consider putting markers on your wheel that allow you to measure how much you need to turn the wheel when you parallel park. Electrical tape works well for this purpose.
- Don't pull too close to the curb. If you park with your tire partially on the curb, there is a good chance that you will pop the tire and have to get a new one. That's a high price tag for a parking spot.
Proper Parallel Parking
Parallel parking properly is an important part of getting your license as well as getting around in a city. You've likely passed up a number of really good parking spots in your travels because you did not know how to parallel park. Once you know how to park properly, you will no longer have to circle the block several times looking for a spot that you can pull or back into.